Several newspapers and TV channels, some of them among India’s biggest, have claimed credit for exposing the Adarsh society scam in which the who’s who of India’s defense and political establishment are involved. The scam exposes the nexus between bureaucrats, politicians and unscrupulous defense service officers. Obviously it wouldn’t be anyone’s ‘exclusive’ if so many newspapers and channels broke the news. Or else there would be one journalist who reported it before others. In any case the intelligent readers and viewers have learnt to take the ‘breaking news’ with a pinch of salt.
At least three respected channels and two ‘national’ English dailies are still claiming credit for the expose and subsequent investigation in the past few weeks. However, many civil society activists who had sought information regarding the housing project under RTI have been trying to bring the scam to the attention of media persons for at least two years. The campaign to expose the scam was led by well known activist Medha Patkar and former IPS officer Y P Singh and the enquiry was first initiated in 2008 on their complaint. Some activists finally posted the facts about the scam in the public domain way back in 2009.
Im4change team believes that despite the exaggerated claims, the media have done a great service by exposing the builder-politician-bureaucrat nexus. However, it wouldn’t hurt anyone to acknowledge the contribution of some public-spirited individuals. Now that the cat is out of the bag and the heads have started to roll, there is a message for India’s investigative journalists: It pays to visit NGO sites and staying in touch with civil society activists.
Following is a NAPM (National Alliance of Peoples’ movement) Press Release giving some bare details of the scam. More information, and even original documents, could be sought through the email ids and phone numbers given below.
The NAPM Press Release:
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS
A Wing, First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai-400 014
Phone No-2415 0529; Delhi Contact: 09818905316, e-mail: email@example.com
• NAPM exposed the Adarsh Society Scam in the year 2008 by filing complaints with the Defence, Environment & State Government.
• On the basis of NAPM’s complaint Defence initiated action and Dept of Environment issued show cause notice to Adarsh Society.
• The nexus of Politicians-Bureaucrats operating to grab every chunk of land exposed.
The recent Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam which has exposed the corrupt nexus amongst the politicians and the bureaucrats in order to grab land in Mumbai was exposed by National Alliance of People’s Movements availing the information exercising Right to Information(RTI) and had filed a complaint on date 27 August 2008 with the Department of Defence, Government of Maharashtra, Department of Environment, BMC & MMRDA under the leader ship of social activist Medha Patkar and guidance of Ex-IPS officer Adv. Y. P. Singh. Acting upon the complaint, the Ministry of Defence has initiated the enquiry and ordered investigation. The Department of Environment, Maharashtra had served a show cause notice to the Adarsh Co-operative Society.
The land scam is related to allotment of Land at Colaba that was in possession of the Army and after the Kargil War, few army personnel started demanding the land for the building of flats to “accommodate and reward the hero’s of Kargil operation and those who had laid down their lives for the protection of the motherland”. The initial list of society members comprised of 40 members and included all the defence personnel. Presently the list stands at 103 out of which only 37 members belong to army and that too only 3 members are related to Kargil war.
Few of the Bureaucrats & politicians who have fraudulently sneaked themselves or their relatives into the list if members and today own flats are:
Ashok Chavan, Congress
Suresh Prabhu, Shiv Sena
Jitender Awhad, NCP
Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, Congress
Babasaheb Kupekar, Congress
Shriniwas Patil, NCP
SuburbanKrishnarao Patil, Congress
Jairaj Phatak- Ex Municipal Commissioner
Ramanand Tiwari, State Information Commissioner
Pradeep Vyas, Collector Mumbai
Indris Kundan, Collector Mumbai
Uttam Gobragade, BEST GM
DK Sankaran, Ex-Chief Sect. MaharashtraCS Sangitrao- Collector
SC Deshmukh, Collector-Pune
Arun Pawar, Ex- Income Tax Comm.
PV Deshmukh, Secretary Urban Development
The following concessions were given in lieu:
* The reservation of the plot modified from Transit Camp & a Parade Ground to Residential Zone.
* A road of width 60 meters reduced to 19 meters.
* FSI of the adjoining Bus Depot given to the Adarsh Society.
* 15 % of the area allowed to used for commercial purpose rather than residential.
* The income ceiling of Rs 12,500 per month waived off for army personnel and politicians
* Construction started without obtaining environmental clearance.
* Occupation Certificate awarded even before the building was fully ready.
All these relaxations and concessions were given as it was mentioned every time that the building was for the war widows are for the army personnel who served the mother land, but the fact remains that out of the total of 103 members only 3 are Kargil soldiers, thus the land was taken in the name of the martyrs and used for personnel benefit of the bureaucrats and politicians.
NAPM has exposed the scam to prove and to challenge the corrupt nexus of the builders-politicians-bureaucrats who order the demolition of the houses of the poor slum dwellers saying that they are illegal and are encroachers while they themselves encroach over land meant for the widows. This is deplorable and shocking.
The politicians and the bureaucrats whose names have been disclosed have no moral right in continuing with the offices they hold and also demand that criminal cases be file against all those involved in the scam for cheating and engaging in corrupt practices.
Santosh Daonkar Simpreet Singh
For related documents kindly contact: 8976252804
P.S. As per the latest news, Mr.Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra has given his resignation to Congress President Ms.Sonia Gandhi.
National Alliance of People's Movements,
c/o 6,Raghav,Shri Raghuraj Society,
Sinhgad Road,Pune 411030
e mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - 94235 71784, 020-24251404